The Cleveland Browns have been playing shorthanded on defense for basically the entire season, most notably in the secondary.
Starting cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams have missed three games apiece after they both suffered hamstring injuries prior to the Browns’ matchup against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. Neither had been able to get on the practice field — until Wednesday.
The duo made their triumphant return return to practice in a limited capacity on Wednesday, giving the team some hope that they might be able to play on Sunday against the Seahawks.
The Browns played against the Rams without their entire starting secondary, but have gradually seen the unit get healthier. Damarious Randall returned to the lineup against the Ravens, making his impact known three tackles and his first career sack. Veteran safety Morgan Burnett returned against the 49ers, although he played less than 50% of the snaps.
Williams responded to a fan when asked about an injury update after the Monday night game on Twitter.
Also returning to practice was backup offensive lineman Kendall Lamm, who exited the Browns Week 1 matchup with the Titans with a leg injury. Another notable name was wide receiver Rashard Higgins, who was a full participant in practice after missing the last four games.
Browns Get Stiff Challenge in Russell Wilson & Seahawks Passing Game
The presence of Ward and Williams will be much needed. After having the top rushing offense a year ago, the Seahawks have found success through the air thanks to MVP candidate Russell Wilson. So far this season, Wilson has passed for 1,409 yards, 12 touchdowns and no interceptions. On top of that, the eighth-year QB has made a ton of plays outside of pocket, maximizing his playmaking ability.
“He can throw the ball from any angle, throw it on the run and throw it from the from the pocket,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “Can avoid the rush is probably what separates him more than anything. His ability to escape and get out of pressure situations and still be able to look down the field and throw the ball because that is where all of their plays come.”
The respect is mutual between the teams when it comes to the quarterback position, as Seahawks skipper Pete Carroll praised Baker Mayfield, despite the former No. 1 pick coming off of the worst performance of his career last Monday.
“He’s got magic in him,” Carroll told reporters. “He can see stuff and do stuff that few players can.”
Backups Have Stepped up in Absence of Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams
With both Williams and Ward on the shelf, veterans T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell have assumed the starting roles. The duo have done a great job, helping the Browns be a top 10 unit in defending the pass.
“The guys who have come in have played exceptionally well … They have been doing a good job,” Kitchens said on Wednesday. “We had some issues the other night that we are going to get corrected. Other than that, they have played well. They played good in spurts the other day, but they have played well up to this point.”
With the road not getting any easier, health should be the most important factor going forward for the Browns. After the Seahawks, the Browns will see the Patriots (5-0), Broncos (1-4) and Bills (4-1).